Film, even of the historical nature, is at least somewhat about drama. If you watch a movie like The Right Stuff and you are surprised or taken aback by certain details that you know to be innaccurate, you are missing the point. The reason that historical films often contain alterations in fact here and there is the same reason that a band should never cover a famous song unless they think that they can do it better or add an interesting new flavor to it. The early days of the Space Race were exciting, and to alter certain facts to maximize the drama of a movie (and don't forget, it is just a movie) is far from insulting.
As a young child, one of my favorite movies was The Right Stuff. I loved the excitement, the characters, and the notion that what I was watching meant a great deal to a lot of people. Years later, even after I learned that the real Jack Ridley died in the middle of the movie's depicted timeline or that John Glenn's ship was not actually guided home by fireflys (which, by the way, only an idiot would think the movie was acutally trying to depict) I still love the movie. It's entertainment, and, believe it or not, most of it really happened. If you've got a bone to pick with the Right Stuff, you've got a bone to pick with every historical film ever released, because part of what makes it a film, or a movie, or whatever you want to call it, is that it does not, and will not ever stick solely to the facts. If it did, why would anyone ever want to watch it when they could just watch some documentary. You don't have to agree, but I think that The Right Stuff is a great movie, fun, informative, and timeless. Five out of Five.